As Formula 1 takes its traditional summer break, one of the key talking points within the media and the paddock is the question of who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing.
Departing | Australian driver Mark Webber is to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season. (Image | GT Spirit)
The team’s hierarchy will use this three-week break to discuss which driver they believe to be the best appointment once the Australian leaves to race for Porsche next season, in the classic Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Before the last outing in Hungary, the two leading candidates for the seat were Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen and Daniel Ricciardo, of Red Bull’s sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The Chinese Grand Prix, now in its ninth year as a Formula 1 venue, is host to plenty of talking points this weekend (Image | providingnews.com)
Two rounds down, seventeen to go, and the 2013 Formula 1 season is already shaping up to be a rather intriguing, and at this stage utterly unpredictable, affair.
There are already a great number of talking points following the curtain-raiser in Melbourne and last weekend’s eyebrow-raiser in Sepang, but we’ve taken four to examine and highlighted the three teams in most turmoil up and down the grid…
1) Are team orders still acceptable in Formula 1?
As Sebastian Vettel slides past the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne on the run down to Turn 4, the yellow flag indicators can clearly be seen showing on his dashboard, either side of the timing screen. This would seem to suggest that the pass is illegal, which could result in a penalty for the German. (Video | YouTube)
This is the moment which could ruin Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship crowns.
Coming up on the rails | Kimi Raikkonen‘s metronomic consistency, combined with a forthcoming major upgrade for Lotus, could see the Iceman become a serious title contender over the second half of the season (Image | AP)
Somewhat overlooked due to the Olympic Games, the Hungarian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton record his second victory of the season to reignite his title bid, but the result observers should have been more wary of was the second place of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen’s second place was his fifth podium of the season and although a win still eludes the Iceman (and Lotus), he has only failed to score points on one occasion this season - a record eclipsed only by championship leader Fernando Alonso. What’s more impressive about Raikkonen’s performance at Hungary is that he finished just over a second behind Hamilton, with the victor even admitting that had the race been at a circuit where there are more overtaking opportunities, he would have struggled to keep the blistering pace of the Lotus at bay.
A long road | As the Olympic torch has been transported up and down the country, Olympic fever has slowly begun to take hold, despite the negative press surrounding the Games. (Image | The Sun)
It really has been a vintage summer of sport. The superb entertainment offered by the 2012 European Championships, England notwithstanding, Andy Murray reaching the Wimbledon final and Bradley Wiggins‘ dominance of the Tour de France will live long in the memory of sports fans everywhere.
Not only this, but arguably the most prestigious, and potentially exhilarating sporting event of the summer, is yet to even begin. It is the London 2012 Olympic Games to which that reference pertains, which unofficially begin tonight (with Women’s Football group games) and have already been hitting the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
Away from transport dilemmas, the issue of packing an extra 10 million visitors into London and the G4S debacle, the Olympic Games celebrate the greatest sporting talents of athletes from across the world. If you claim to be a sports fan, yet this somehow fails to excite you, may I suggest a quick examination of your pulse.
L-r: Martin Whitmarsh, Bob Fearnley and Ross Brawn flaunt the new FOTA “white shirt, black trousers” uniform (Image | FOTA website)
A number – a small number, perhaps, but a number nonetheless – of interesting quotes emerged from the second English Formula One Teams Association Fans’ Forum. The forum, held Tuesday at the Williams GP base in Grove, Oxfordshire, allowed F1 fans from around the country to pose questions to team chiefs Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren) and Bob Fearnley (deputy team chief, Force India) in a 45-minute question-and-answer session.
The session, which took place after an autograph session with Pastor Maldonado and an hour or so looking around the Williams GP museum, featured questions from a variety of different fans with, it should be said, differing levels of F1 understanding and vocabulary (one nigh-incoherent individual rambled on for almost two minutes without posing a question). TAP, as you would expect, had a few questions lined up, but we never got near the microphone…
Should he stay or should he go? | McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton should stay put, at least for the moment, with exit talk recently emerging in the media. (Image | Top News)
In a response to Andrew Benson’s article on the BBC Sport website, Billy Sexton believes it best for Lewis Hamilton to stay with McLaren Mercedes for the time being.
Benson acknowledges that former F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is frustrated with the failure of his team to provide him with a World Championship-winning car since he took his maiden title in 2008.
With Hamilton out of contract at McLaren at the end of this season and hungry for a second title, Benson points out that he has the option to switch teams, as a number of seats are expected to become available at the sharp end of the grid.